18. April 2012 21:49
What is a portable stove? – Portable stoves are small, compact, burner assemblies used during hiking or backpacking trips when normal cooking utilities are not available. While many different variations of portable stoves are available, this article will focus on non-self-pressurizing tanks and free-standing burners. This type of step-up allows for a minimal amount of items to carry in your pack and eliminates the need for pressurized bottles.
How do they work? – Typical portable stoves consist of a few different parts that, when combined, provide a powerful and easy to use stove in just about any environmental conditions. The main parts of the portable stove are the fuel bottle, pressurization pump, connection tube and burner. The fuel bottle contains a liquid fuel source in accordance with the burner, typically kerosene, gasoline, diesel or alcohol. Pressurization pumps allows for the user to pressurize the bottle for stove use. The connection tube provides a sealed connection between the pressurized fuel source and the burner assembly. Once these four parts are connected and properly primed, the stove is ready for use. Pressurized fuel is fed to the burner via the connection tube. Upon ignition, the assembly will burn the fuel, thus providing a gas stove for cooking. Many companies have unique fittings for the bottle, pump, tube and stove, so ensure you get matching equipment and test the equipment before taking it on a trip. Also, follow the instructions for the particular burner as steps may vary depending on individual burners.
When should you use them? – These portable units are great for camping, hiking and mountaineering. The set-up and tear-down for portable stoves is relatively quick and effortless. When hiking and mountaineering, size and weight are vital. These stoves allow for hours of use while minimizing the space used and weight added t... [More]
22. February 2012 20:01
Get to Know Your Gear this week will focus on Ice Climbing Tools.
What is Ice Climbing – Ice climbing is an adventurous sport that integrates rock climbing with winter weather covered terrain. The tools involved in ice climbing are similar to the ones used in rock climbing, but with the addition of an ice tool (ice axe) and crampons, and of course, cold weather gear.
How do you use an ice tool and crampons – An ice tool looks similar to a hammer, having a long “pick” on one side of the ice tool’s head and a shorter “adze” on the other side. The pick is used to impale the snow or ice during the ascent. When climbing, the pick should always face the snow or ice so it can be effectively used if the climber slips or begins to fall. The adze, the smaller shovel looking side, is used more for chopping small steps and can be used when self-belaying. Beginners are advised to use the leashed type, which has a wrist wrap to ensure the axe doesn’t fall to the ground if dropped. Crampons are attached to the climber’s boots and consist of multiple thick metal points protruding from the outward from the bottom of the boot. They greatly improve traction on ice and can be used to kick foot holds during climbing.
When should you Ice Climb – Ice climbing is a winter sport focusing on climbing icefalls, frozen waterfalls and cliffs or rock slabs covered with ice and packed snow. Once the free flowing water becomes completely frozen, the ice climbing season begins. Knowing when it is safe to climb comes with experience, but consistent below-freezing weather is usually a good sign ice climbing will start soon.
Keep in mind, crampons and ice tools are available for rent from the Outdoor Recreation Center throughout the winter season. Ice climbing is a great form of exercise and allows you to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months.
15. February 2012 22:04
This week’s Get to Know Your Gear segment will focus on Climbing Skins.
What are Climbing Skins? – Climbing skins, also known as ski skins, are cross country skiing accessories which attach to cross country skis to restrict backward sliding of the skis.
How do they work? – When the skins are attached to the skis, the fibers in contact with the snow lay flat when moving forward allowing for unrestricted forward movement. Alternatively, when sliding backwards, the snow pushes against the grain of the fibers causing the skins to dig into the snow and hold the skis, and skier, in place.
When should you use them? – Typically, climbing skins are only needed when venturing into areas with hills, switchbacks, or any type of ascent where momentum will not carry the skier to the top of the next hill. While they are not always necessary to have on the skis, carrying climbing skins in a pack when cross country skiing is always advised.
Now that you know what climbing skins are, when to use them, and how they work, you are ready to get outside and try some cross country skiing! Remember, climbing skins for Tele Skis or Randonnee (Alpine Touring) are available for rent from the Outdoor Recreation Center. Enjoy the great outdoors!
1. February 2012 23:22
Don’t let the snow covered ground (which is quickly melting) keep you from enjoying all of the hiking trails scattered around the area. This week’s Getting to Know Your Gear blog will show you how to enjoy hiking regardless how much snow we get this winter by using snowshoes and trekking poles.
Snowshoeing has been thought to be around for roughly 10,000 years. The basic principle of snowshoes is the ability to distribute body weight over a larger surface area allowing people two walk across snow covered ground with greater ease. In the past, snowshoes were used in snowy areas so hunters/trappers could continue to provide for their family during the winter months (and to escape the ever lurking Yeti). Now, snowshoes are more of recreation accessories so outdoor enthusiasts can hike in deep snow.
While there are a few different types of snowshoes available, the most common is the recreational/trekking type. Other styles include backcountry/mountaineering and aerobic/running snowshoes. Running snowshoes are usually shorter and less wide than both recreation and backcountry. Additionally, for the same size person, mountaineering are going to be a little longer and wider for more difficult terrain. Each of these types of snowshoe have either fixed/limited-rotation or full/pivot-rotation bindings. Racing snowshoes usually have fixed-rotation bindings which do not allow the toe to pivot below the bottom plane of the shoe. Unfortunately, fixed bindings have a tendency to kick snow up the back of the user’s legs. Full-rotation bindings are normally preferred for traditional and mountaineering snowshoes because they allow for greater traction and mobility.
One of the best accessories for recreational or mountaineering snowshoeing are trekking poles. Poles help hikers maintain balance on most types of terrain, can help with knee pain and often increase the speed of the hike.&... [More]
25. January 2012 22:55
The continuation of our Get to Know Your Gear segment is going to focus on avalanche beacons.
What is an Avalanche Beacon? – It is a radio transceiver that is used to locate men and women in a search and rescue if they are buried beneath the snow due to an avalanche.
How does it work? – When a person is buried under the snow, their radio will send out a transmission that connects to other beacons. The search party can turn their transceivers to receive and use the device to measure distance and direction to the buried party. The standard for beacons is to transmit signals at 457 kHz (kilo Hertz) so it is important that the beacon you choose is also transmitting at this rate.
When should you use it? - Anytime you are skiing, snowboarding, hiking or ice climbing in the backcountry, it is important that you use an avalanche beacon. It is during these activities that you are most likely to encounter a loose snow slide avalanche. And remember, practice using your beacon with the men and women you will be in the wilderness with, it is not a useful instrument if used improperly.
Now that you know a little more about this particular piece of equipment, you can evaluate if it will be important to use on your next snow adventures. Happy exploring!
18. January 2012 17:16
All of this wonderful winter weather is reminding me of how much I’d love to be snowboarding down a powdery mountain. Then reality hits and I realize I still have to go to work, class and somehow find nourishment to sustain my studying. I’ve lived in Pullman, Washington, for four years and the snow hasn’t really been a problem. Last year there was that one treacherous day of snow, but that’s it. So snow precautions aren’t my specialty. If you feel a little lost too, do not fear because Heather’s here! I’ve looked up some helpful ways to stay safe in the midst of winter storm.
Taking precautions will help with knowing what awaits you when you step out your door. The age-old tradition of looking outside your window helps prepare for how much snow is on the ground. But this doesn’t account for the actual temperature or expected precipitation for the remainder of the day. Checking the local news with your morning cereal can prepare you for the expected weather. If you’re more internet savvy then this might be the website for you http://www.noaa.gov/. According to Pullman’s National Weather Service forecast there’s 100 percent chance of snow until Thursday afternoon, when it changes over to 90 percent chance of snow.
To know how the weather will affect you check out WSU Alert’s website. The website shows up-to-date notifications about the weather situation in the area. Here’s the link to check out what’s going on right now, http://alert.wsu.edu/.
Other weather hurdles to be aware of are staying warm, proper foot gear and car safety. You know your car better than anyone; don’t drive if it’s not prepared for the weather. Buses are still running and they’re prepared and maintained for this kind of weather. To find bus routes visit, http://www.pullmantransit.com/.
Staying safe is the top priority but don’t forget to embrace your inner child while there’s still sn... [More]
10. October 2011 18:41
A great bonding idea was brought to the table during one of our University Recreation Marketing staff meetings; assembling a Flag Football team. Flag football is the most popular intramural sport at Washington State University. What better way to bond with your fellow staff members?
Besides the opportunity to bond with co-workers Flag Football reminds me of the days back in elementary school. Remember when physical education was an essential piece of the day, now I get to couple that along with competition!
Around the office the excitement is building. Plus, there’s an opportunity to win a Cougar Jytte ® Beanie if you are a team manager! I even modeled the beanie, check it out!
13. September 2011 16:01
“When the pursuit of Natural Harmony is a shared journey, great heights can be attained.” – Lynn Hill
(Lynn Hill is an American rock climber and former world champion sport climber who has elevated rock climbing to new levels, particularly after free climbing El Capitan’s Nose in one day in 1994.)
Be inspired by others climbers, mountaineers, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts.